In addition to the essentials listed in the boxed text, the key decision, when planning a route, is whether or not to sleep in a tent. A good tent opens up endless trekking possibilities and will get you away from the crowds. You can hire tents from tour operators and guides, and at trailheads. If you would rather not carry a tent, in most regions you can stay in the villages
Whether you are camping or staying in houses, a four-season sleeping bag is essential for the High Atlas and Jebel Sarhro from September to early April, when temperatures as low as -10°C are not unknown. In lower ranges, even in high summer, a bag comfortable at 0°C is recommended. A thick sleeping mat or thin foam mattress is a good idea since the ground is extremely rocky. Guides can usually supply these.
Many gîtes have cooking facilities, but you may want to bring a stove if you are camping. Multifuel stoves that burn anything from aviation fuel to diesel are ideal. Methylated spirits are hard to get hold of, but kerosene is available. Pierce-type butane gas canisters are also available, but not recommended for environmental reasons. Your guide will be able to advise you on this.
Bring a basic medical kit as well as water-purification tablets or iodine drops or a mechanical purifier. All water should be treated unless you take it directly from the source. To go above 3000m between November and May, as well as having experience in winter mountaineering, you will need essentials including crampons, ice axes, and snow shovels. Again, this equipment is available for hire.
If you are combining trekking with visits to urban areas, consider storing extra luggage before your trek rather than lugging around unwanted gear. Most hotels will let you leave luggage, sometimes for a small fee. Train stations in larger cities have secure left-luggage facilities
However much trekking and map-reading experience you have, we strongly recommend that you hire a qualified guide – if for no other reason than to be your translator (how is your Tashelhit?), chaperone ( faux guides won’t come near you if you are with a guide), deal-getter and vocal guidebook. A good guide will also enhance your cultural experience.
They will know local people, which will undoubtedly result in invitations for tea and food, and richer experiences of Berber life. If something goes wrong, a local guide will be the quickest route to getting help. Every year foreigners die in the Moroccan mountains. Whatever the cause – a freak storm, an unlucky slip, a rock slide – the presence of a guide would invariably have increased their chances of survival. So however confident you feel, we recommend that you never walk into the mountains unguided.